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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Acceptable Genes?: Religious Traditions and Genetically Modified Foods

Acceptable Genes?: Religious Traditions and Genetically Modified Foods


Perspectives on genetically modified foods from world religions and indigenous traditions.

Conrad G. Brunk and Harold Coward
A lively debate about genetically modifi ed foods has engaged around the
world since their fi rst introduction onto the markets of many countries in
the last decades of the twentieth century. The debate has been especially
intense in Europe, Japan, and parts of Africa and has led in many instances
to moratoria on the introduction of genetically modifi ed crops into the
agriculture of the societies and strict requirements for the labeling of genetically
modifi ed foods and food ingredients produced in or imported into
the country.
This debate has been uncharacteristically subdued in North America,
where these products were fi rst grown for commercial use and sent to markets
for consumption. Public concern or opposition was limited primarily
to small, often marginalized, environmental or consumer groups but did
not become widespread as in other regions. One reason for this may have
been that government regulators in Canada and the United States approved
these products for the market with no public announcement that they were
doing so and certainly without any prior public consultation, in contrast
to the practice in most European countries. Indeed, most people in North
America have been until very recently completely unaware that much of
the food they are purchasing is from genetically modifi ed corn, canola, soybeans,
and other crops, and that genetically modifi ed or cloned food animals
have been developed and applications for their market approval submitted
to their regulators.
Although public awareness is now more widespread in North America,
levels of concern over GM food are still fairly low on the public’s list of
political priorities. One concern, however, is not low—that of the desire
for labeling of these products in order to give consumers a choice whether
or not to purchase them.

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Tags: genetically, modifi, foods, introduction, debate, world, Acceptable, Modified